Whether you add it as a spread on your sandwiches or scoop it on your hot dog, relish can take your meals to the next level by adding a boost of sweet-savory flavor.
As Wikipedia describes it, relish is a pickled or cooked product of chopped fruits and vegetables, or sometimes a mixture of both.
It is mostly used as a salsa, dip, or condiment. And sometimes, you can even add relish to your sauces.
In fact, if you love its flavor, you can add relish to almost anything to enhance its flavor.
Similar to pickles, relish is a preserve of finely chopped fruits and vegetables in a solution of vinegar, salt, or sugar.
But, does relish last as long as pickles? How long does relish last? What is the actual shelf life of this savory condiment? To find out the answers, just read on.
How Long Does Relish Last? Does Relish Go Bad?
Relish does go bad. But similar to pickles, relish can remain edible for a really long time.
But how long can relish last exactly? Well! That mostly depends on the quality and methods of storage.
All store-bought relish usually come with a best by or best before dates. However, do not mistake this for an expiry date.
The good thing about relish is that you can use it even past its best by date. The best by date only indicates the period till which the relish will retain its best quality.
Hence, once it crosses the best by date, the relish will slowly start losing its quality. However, you can slow down this process by practicing good storage methods and extend its shelf life.
Unless it shows some clear hints of spoilage, you can consume relish even past its best before date.
Let’s first discuss the shelf life of unopened relish jars and then move on to the opened relish. If you want to maximize the shelf life of your relish, you should always store it in a cool and dry area.
Keep it away from direct heat and make sure that it is completely sealed in its original packaging.
Generally, unopened relish can retain its best quality for up to two years. But even if it has crossed the best before date, you can still consume it, provided you stored it properly and there are no other signs of spoilage.
When it comes to opened relish, make sure you store it in the refrigerator. In the fridge, opened relish can last for up to a year in its best quality.
Past this period, you may notice some changes in color or flavor. But it will still remain safe for consumption.
The only time when your relish becomes unfit for consumption is when it shows some obvious signs of spoilage (read below).
How to Tell if Relish is Bad?
Eating bad relish will harm your health just as eating any other rancid food item. It may not only cause digestive problems but also lead to food poisoning.
Hence, it is important that you know how to identify when your relish has completely expired and become unfit for consumption.
Relish has a sweet-savory flavor and is slightly acidic. Hence, identifying if it has gone bad by simply tasting it can be quite difficult.
But there are other ways by which you can tell if relish has gone bad:
First, check the outer jar or lid of the relish. If the lid is dome-shaped instead of flat, the contents of the jar have most probably gone bad.
Now, if the jar looks fine, you can open it and check inside it. If you notice any discolorations, brown or black pieces, or mold developments, it clearly shows that your relish has gone bad. And you should immediately discard it.
The next thing you can do is take a whiff. Relish usually gives off a sour, acidic aroma. However, if it smells odd and rancid, it is time to toss it in the trash.
Tasting your relish to tell if it has gone bad should be your last resort. While doing so, make sure to taste only the part that is submerged in the vinegar solution.
Relish is a savory condiment that is very similar to pickles. While store-bought relish can be delicious and come with a good amount of sodium and sugar, homemade relish, on the other hand, is usually high in vitamin K.
Hence, if you want a healthier option, you can opt to make your own relish at home and enjoy the additional antioxidants and probiotics that come with homemade relish.
Regardless of how you get your relish, it will last for a long time before becoming unsafe for consumption.
Just make sure to store your relish in an airtight container after use. You can store unopened relish in a cool, dark place like your pantry. However, when it comes to opened relish, store it in the refrigerator at all times.